Ealing Amateurs played its one and only pre-season warm-up game away to a strong OMTs side newly promoted to London 3 North-West, and after achieving near-parity in the first half eventually fell away as lack of match fitness told. They will, however, be pleased to have played against good-quality opposition after sometimes not been sufficiently tested in the Middlesex Merit Table last season and will be aiming to hit the ground running in their opening Zoo Shield fixture against Cobham this coming Saturday.
In bright but breezy conditions, the Amateurs gave a good account of themselves in the opening exchanges, with the forwards making good yards in the loose and bossing the game. After 12 minutes Ealing took the lead through hooker Stuart Miller, who found himself in space from quickly recycled ball and touched down for an unconverted try half-way out. Within three minutes OMTs responded with a converted try, scored by their impressive inside centre. Big, physical tackles by both sides prevented further scoring until the 36 minute mark, when Ealing centre Alex Hazell squeezed over. Tries either side of half-time then moved OMTs into a lead which they never looked like losing. Just before the half-time whistle, the OMTs No 12 set off on another powerful run and was only prevented from scoring by a last-ditch tackle into touch in the in-goal area. OMTs regained possession from the 22 metre drop-out and worked the ball fluently to the left wing for an unconverted try, leaving the score at the break poised at 12-10 to OMTs.
With the breeze at their backs, Ealing appeared not to be switched back on as the second half got under way. The OMTs hooker set off on a powerful run, outpaced the defence, bounced off an attempted tackle and touched down under the posts for a converted try. As the second half wore on it became clear that OMTs were a shade more match-ready than their opponents, who noticeably tired. The increasing gulf in fitness levels and dominance of possession from the line-out and in the loose led to further OMT scores on 61, 74 and 78 minutes, the last of which resulted from a charged-down kick under the Ealing posts. The visitors restored some pride by scoring just before the final whistle after probing by the forwards led to a try by Mike Whitney.
Ealing will have identified a number of areas to work on ahead of the first league fixture, including the need to avoid lateral running when faced by a strong defence and to cut out unforced errors.
This Saturday the Amateurs 1sts entertain Cobham, with a 3 pm kickoff at Vallis Way.
Team: Ash Spencer (sub Corrado Tadeschi), Stuart Miller (sub Liam McDonagh), Patrizio Bancher, Harry Craig, Des Crinion, Ed Shryane, Mike Whitney, Adam Hulmston, Olly Miller, Alex Gillespie, Pascal Baptiste, Alex Hazell, Rhys Langford (sub Matthew Cairns-Newton), Sean Killeen, Steve Verma